Bryan Co. officials say DOC causing unsafe county jail

By: Steven Powell Email
By: Steven Powell Email

BRYAN COUNTY, OK -- The Bryan County jail houses 56 DOC inmates - which is half of the facility's population.

Jail Administrator John Kidman said the backlog of DOC prisoners is taking its toll.

"March. Was the last time we had a transport. So for like 3 months we haven't had a transport to DOC," he said. "You gotta hire extra jailers for every 20 inmates you increase. And that's just one per shift, that's what our last figure was."

Officials say DOC isn't paying the county what it truly costs to house them.

"Last fiscal year, it was like $43.68 I believe. We're getting paid $27 a day," Kidman said.

DOC spokesman Jerry Massie says the $27 was set by a state statute.

"Basically our position is we have to set the statute that sets the amount," he said.

County Commissioner Jay Perry said they're basing their arguments on an opinion from the state attorney general's office.

"You can't use funds that have been collected in the county to pay for a state office."

Since Data published by DOC estimates it costs $40 a day to house prisoners in community prisons - and the state's only paying 27 - Perry said it's illegal for the county to pick up the tab for the extra $16 a day to pay for each state inmate.

"And whatever that amount is, that it takes to house that inmate, we need to be re-paid for that," Perry said.

That's why the county filed a lawsuit 9 months ago demanding an increase in what DOC pays the county.

"Basically what their response to us in that meeting was 'we don't have the money,'" Perry said.

Kidman adds the backlog of DOC prisoner transports leads to longer stays at the Bryan County jail - which leads to lawsuits from inmates, costing the county even more money.

"And they're trying to file a lawsuit against the county and DOC because we're not sending them to DOC fast enough so they can get their good time so they can get out early," he said.

The initial trial date was scheduled for the end of this month. But commissioners just found out that's been pushed back to September.


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